Becoming a new parent can be the most wonderful and challenging role, all at the same time. For new mothers, hormonal changes and lack of sleep can lead to an intense first few weeks home with the baby. Many new mamas (60-80%) experience the baby blues, which last between 2 days to 2 weeks postpartum. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) are different - they last longer and often require intervention. About 20% of mothers will experience a PMAD.
Social supports are an important part of new parenthood, offering outlets to new parents who may feel alone in the black hole of newborn sleep/feed routines.
For those who love a new mama, here are a few easy ways to offer support and encouragement:
Send a note or text checking in with her at random times. Be sure to ask how the parent is holding up, not just how that adorable baby is doing!
Be a listening ear - don’t try to make it all better, just validate and listen. It can feel great to vent to a loved one.
Offer to help with tasks around the house such as laundry, dishes, making a meal or running errands
Take a stroller walk with mom and baby to get her out of the house
Know your resources! This could include therapists, parent groups, postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, pelvic floor therapists, hotlines, etc. A sleep-deprived parent may not have bandwidth to do research; helping them with this could be a huge step toward feeling better!
More ways to support maternal mental health awareness
Go to Postpartum Support International (PSI) and share their information on your social media pages
Check in with the new and expecting parents in your life, whether it’s a neighbor, friend, family member or colleague; offer help and encouragement
Be open about your own experiences in the perinatal period; having a shared experience can be validating to those struggling
To learn more about ways Pleasantville Therapy supports new parents,
visit our website or reach out now!
Mallory Winter, LCSW is licensed clinical social worker who specializes in maternal mental health and parenting. She provides therapy for adolescents, adults, and new parents.
Learn more about Mallory at www.pleasantvilletherapy.com